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Bridge Snaps at Funeral, Killing 9

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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A one-year-old suspension bridge in Vietnam gave way during a funeral procession Monday (Feb. 24), killing nine people, injuring dozens, and spilling the coffin containing the body of a village official into the rocky ravine below. 

The accident happened about 8:30 a.m. local time on the Chu Va 6 Bridge in the northwestern Vietnam province of Lai Chau. The 54-meter-long (177 feet), 1.5-ton capacity bridge opened in December 2012.

Vietnam Chu Va 6 Bridge
Voice of Vietnam, via VietnamNet Bridge

Nine people died and dozens were injured after the one-year-old Chu Va 6 Bridge in Vietnam collapsed Monday (Feb. 24) during a funeral procession. 

About 40 people fell nine meters (29.5 feet) into a ravine full of sharp rocks. Three people died at the scene, five others died after being rushed to the hospital, and one died Tuesday (Feb. 25), Thanhniennews.com reported

'Resonance' Cited

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that overloading was the cause of the collapse, adding that the transport ministry must take direct responsibility, Talkvietnam.com reported

The bridge builder was not immediately identified. 

Police officer Phung Quang Tuyen told the Associated Press that cables on one side of the bridge had snapped.

"It was a horrible scene," Tuyen told the AP. "People were screaming and crying." 

According to the AP, online newspaper VnExpress cited Nguyen Vuong Chien, administrator of the provincial traffic safety board, as saying that vibrations from the funeral procession may have set off "a resonance," causing the cable to snap. 

Nguyen Hoang Hiep, deputy chairman of the provincial traffic safety board, told Tuoitrenews.vn that the funeral procession had doubled the bridge's capacity. 

Vietnam bridge collapse
Screenshot YouTube / Thanhniennews.com

Authorities say the funeral procession may have set off vibrations, causing the bridge's cable to snap. Thanhniennews.com posted a YouTube video of the tragedy, which can be viewed here. (Warning: Graphic.)

"Participants in the funeral procession were aware of the bridge's capacity, so they were divided in three groups and walked across it one by one," Hiep said.

"The first group crossed it safely, but when the second was walking across it, the bridge suddenly tilted and threw about 40 people into the rocky stream below." 

According to Talkvietnam.com, officials said that it is currently dry season in the area, so the river was shallow, allowing the large rocks to protrude out. 

Safety, Compensation

Phuc has asked transportation authorities to check the safety of all suspension bridges in the country, particularly in mountainous areas, according to Thanhniennews.com.

Local news sources reported that families of the deceased will receive 7 million dong ($350 USD) and families of the injured will receive 2 million dong ($100 USD). 

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Asia Pacific; Bridges; Fatalities; Health and safety

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